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Graham Doig | CIE Faculty Fellow

Our CIE Faculty Fellows promote innovation and entrepreneurship on and off Cal Poly’s campus. They have passion for the Learn by Doing spirit and are innovators themselves. Graham Doig is no exception to this.

Doig is an assistant professor in the aerospace engineering department and the faculty advisor for Cal Poly’s PROVE project.

PROVE is the prototype vehicle lab on campus. Students are working to build the world’s fastest solar-powered vehicle. Students are currently raising money to continue prototyping and enhancing the design and motor in the vehicle. Through working on this project, students are learning real-world skills; they are not only engineering the vehicle, but also learning the industry and the business.

Doig facilitates this hands-on learning experience. He creates a bridge between Cal Poly and CIE, by encouraging students to think with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Watch our vlog below to get an inside look at PROVE.  See how these students are making this car a reality.

 

Community Business Incubator | WhiteFox Defense Technology

WhiteFox Defense Technology specializes in landing drones, but their mission is to keep them flying. They are drone enthusiasts and security experts, keeping the skies open to all responsible pilots and advancing the potential for drone technology to benefit society.

WhiteFox achieves this by using DroneFox technology to automatically detect, identify, and intercept drones at the press of a button.

WhiteFox was the first community startup to join the CIE’s Business Incubator Program. The CIE’s resources have allowed WhiteFox to reach their goals and grow quickly. To learn more and apply for the CIE Business Incubator Program click here.

Watch our vlog to find out more about the company and their latest success:

Coworking at the SLO HotHouse

Greg Gibson, CTO of Motimatic, is one of our coworkers at the SLO HotHouse.  He enjoyed launching his company here in SLO, and he is taking advantage of all the benefits coworking has to offer.

He attributes coworking as a factor to his success, “Being a part of this community, an even informal conversation in front of the coffee machine has inspired ideas.  With coworking, you get the benefits of working at a large company as a small startup.”


Click on our video below to learn more about Greg, his company and his experience with coworking.

ObserVR is Changing the VR Industry

ObserVR is a virtual reality analytics platform.  The company provides data-driven insights to power truly immersive experiences. ObserVR’s analytics capture behavior, analyze engagement and fuel growth. They analyze consumer data in order to help VR companies improve in-app functions and keep users engaged.

Check out our video blog for the inside scoop on ObserVR. Click below to meet CEO, Lucas Toohey; COO, Justin Cellona and CTO, Jacob Copus; and learn how they are changing the VR industry.

Become a CIE Mentor Today

Here at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), we do a lot of work with teams and companies to help get their venture off the ground. This work includes on-campus programming in The Hatchery, the Summer Accelerator and the two-year Incubator. The cornerstone to all of our programs is mentorship.

We have over 140 mentors working with the CIE who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to all of our teams and companies. The CIE mentor program includes entrepreneurs from high tech, venture capital, big retail, niche products and more. From San Luis Obispo, Bay Area, Los Angeles and out of state, we have mentors who provide guidance for multiple business types and help young entrepreneurs build, grow and sustain their businesses.

During the past Summer Accelerator, we had over 30 mentors come through the building to host workshops, meet with teams’ one-on-one and lead round table discussions. In addition to this, each of the eight teams had a Lead Mentor who met with them every week as they set milestones, worked through issues and grew their business.

Our amazing mentors make it possible for the CIE to provide a wide range of resources to teams and companies. We are so grateful for all of the time each mentor has given to the program, and look forward to the future!

If you, or someone you know is interested in mentorship, please fill out an application here.

Start Your Business Before You Graduate

The Hatchery is an on-campus program that fosters entrepreneurship initiatives among the student body.  From leading students in developing essential entrepreneurial skills to hosting weekly workshops, the Hatchery has all the tools students need to launch their startup.

Cal Poly entrepreneurship student, Haley Pavone, is using the Hatchery to get her company off the ground.  Watch the video below to learn about Haley’s company and how CIE resources are helping her reach her goals.

For more about the Hatchery and other CIE programs and opportunities click here.

SLO HotHouse Incubator Startup Expands in San Luis Obispo

CIE Incubator company, BoltAbout, recently moved to a new warehouse facility in downtown SLO. As the electric bike startup expands in both bikes and customers, the move to the warehouse was essential for BoltAbout, according to CEO Matt Maxwell.

With the new warehouse just down the street from BoltAbout’s downtown CIE SLO HotHouse office, it makes for a convenient location for customers and allows the BoltAbout team to work closely together.  The new warehouse also gives BoltAbout the space they need to store and work on the bikes.

“We have everything the customer needs to do a rental there,” says Maxwell.

The warehouse is bringing in money to San Luis Obispo and keeping it there.  From paying movers to encouraging customers to spend time downtown, BoltAbout is focused on helping enhance San Luis Obispo.

“We’re making downtown more vibrant and more prosperous; in a small way, but hopefully over time it will get bigger,” says Maxwell.

BoltAbout’s new location is helping the company bring the SLO community together.  On the first Thursday of every month San Luis Obispo Downtown Association hosts a bike night where community members come together for a fun time and ride their bikes through downtown.  BoltAbout is opening the doors of their warehouse to customers and the community on these nights for pizza.  Maxwell says that this is one of the ways that BoltAbout creates an experience for their customers.

BoltAbout is expanding to Santa Barbara and San Diego this spring, but SLO will always remain the headquarters, according to Maxwell.

“We’re going to keep good jobs and the culture of BoltAbout in SLO.  Cal Poly and CIE have provided the foundation for one of the most profound experiences of my whole entire life. Without Cal Poly and CIE there’s no way I’d be where I am today.”

Come by the new warehouse at 757 Monterey Street.  Meet the friendly BoltAbout team and bolt off on your own electric bike.  Visit BoltAbout’s website here for more information.

Why You Need to Try Coworking at the SLO HotHouse

Have you ever heard of the phrase two minds are better than one? This phrase definitely holds its truth when it comes to coworking.

Coworking is about being independently productive around people who share similar values and goals. It’s about learning from and connecting with one another to achieve success. Research has shown that coworking spaces lead to a culture that drives innovation and furthers success of entrepreneurs and business professionals. So, whether you are interested in the synergy of like-minded people or just want a place to work with fast Wi-Fi and your own space, coworking may be a great option for you.

The SLO HotHouse is a community hub with more than 50 individuals and over two-dozen companies working out of the space. Members include professionals in real estate, marketing, law, photography, and development. With affordable 24/7 workspace, no leases, all the office amenities you could ask for and a location in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, the SLO HotHouse is the perfect place to work toward accomplishing your goals.

“Before the SLO HotHouse I was running my business out of my home or in coffee shops,”said Luke Fox, CEO of WhiteFox Defense Technologies, Inc. and a SLO HotHouse coworker. “Being at home meant constant distractions. Coffee shops were costing me about $100 a month and were loud with limited hours. My business has really taken off since being at the HotHouse. The environment and culture they cultivate is an experience to behold!”

Take your company to the next level and come see for yourself why coworking at the SLO HotHouse would be a great choice for you! Book a tour today or click here for more information.

How to Get Involved in Forums

At once both a foundational and an educational pillar of CIE, the forum series unifies a community and a university around the pursuit of entrepreneurship. Hosted on a bi-monthly basis, CIE Forums explore innovative ideas and up-and-coming startups within an interactive and collaborative environment.

At times, the forum series serves as a host for the Elevator Pitch Competition finals or the introduction of the SLO HotHouse Accelerator companies. At other events, the forum is home to game-show style competitions and club showcases. Regardless of the content, though, CIE Forums provide attendees with a unique perspective into the startup scene on the Central Coast.

Each forum is divided into two sections: the P.E.N. (Pitches, Exhibits, Networking) and the panel.

During the P.E.N., attendees are introduced to the latest innovations on the Central Coast. Through networking, brainstorming or even competing, community members, faculty, and students can discover new connections and new ideas.

Following the P.EN., each forum transitions to the forum panel. Showcasing experts from the startup world, the panel centers its discussion around core issues crucial for success in entrepreneurship. Attendees are also able to submit questions for the panel to discuss, allowing the collaborative environment of the P.E.N. to continue throughout the evening.

From 4:30p.m.-7:30 p.m., the forum series enables freshman students to connect with venture capitalists and local business owners to brainstorm with Cal Poly faculty. While SLO may never possess the resources of Silicon Valley, the forum series offers a vision of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters community alongside innovation.

To register for our free February forum, click here! 

CIE Welcomes Four Professors to the Faculty Fellows program

Four professors were named to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship‘s (CIE) Faculty Fellows program. Lynne Slivovsky, electrical engineering, David Askay, communication studies, Taryn Stanko, management, and Graham Doig, aerospace, join the multidisciplinary cohort in preparing students to become emerging entrepreneurial leaders. The fellows will help to raise awareness of CIE programs and provide guidance to students and faculty with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Communication Studies Professor, Askay, applied to the CIE Faculty Fellows program because it provides him with the support to create a program that can harness local expertise to better address global problems.   Askay wanted to be part of something that allowed faculty, staff and students to collaborate and have the opportunity to make a difference.  He will create an OpenIDEO chapter on campus, with the goal of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation focused on societal and environmental challenges.

Aerospace Professor, Dr. Doig, started the Prototype Vehicles Lab (PROVE Lab) to be a project-based organization where students can design and build unique, technology-demonstrator vehicles to break world records.  The fellows’ program allows him to take these plans for PROVE to the next level and help the students really go to town on their innovative ideas with the right support and mentoring.  Dr. Doig sees the Faculty Fellows program as a great investment of time and effort.

“These blazing-bright minds are going to go out there and do stuff we haven’t even thought of yet, a group of battle-hardened world-changers,” said Doig. “ Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Cal Poly entrepreneurs’ energy, enthusiasm, and passion made Professor Taryn Stanko interested in the CIE Faculty Fellows program.

“These students left a deep impression on me and made her excited about the entrepreneurial efforts going on at the SLO HotHouse,” Stanko said.

Professor Stanko is currently developing a new course, “Negotiation for Entrepreneurs”, which will focus almost exclusively on the unique issues facing founders of young companies.  She believes that negotiation is a critical tool for entrepreneurs who must negotiate with stakeholders on issues that are fundamental to the success of their new companies.

Electrical Engineering Professor, Lynne Slivovsky, is focusing her project on human-centered innovation and design. She is interested in computer vision and pattern recognition, human computer interaction, haptics, robotics and digital system design.  Slivovsky will help in inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.

These four fellows are part of the 2016-2017 class of CIE Faculty Fellows.  They are joining fellows Enrica Costello, art and design; Bob Crockett, biomedical engineering; Dale Dolan, Electrical Engineering; Lorraine Donegan, graphic communication; Charmaine Farber, graphic communication; Mary Glick, journalism; Brian Granger, physics; David Janzen, computer science; Lynn Metcalf, marketing; Clare Olsen, architecture; Christiane Schroeter, agricultural business; and Umut Toker, architecture.

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